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Summary

Set in the Lake Superior region in the mid-1800s, The Birchbark House is a vital novel providing fascinating details of a year in the life of young Omakayas, a girl of the Ojibwa.

With exquisite care, National Book Critics Circle Award winner Louise Erdrich has fashioned a story rich in the way of life and heritage of the Ojibwa people, a story that begs to be told out loud. As each season in a year of Omakayas' life is lovingly portrayed, the satisfying rhythm of her days is shattered when a stranger visits the lodge one night, bringing with him an invisible enemy that will change things forever.

©1999 Louise Erdrich (P)2002 Audio Bookshelf

Critic reviews

"Littrell's soothing, finely tuned reading of The Birchbark House evokes the atmosphere of this thoughtful, rich story about the daily activities of an Ojibwa girl." ( Booklist)
"Nicolle Littrell narrates with a gentle and quiet voice. Her presentation is light and immediate, giving the listener to bear witness to each event." ( AudioFile)

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What listeners say about The Birchbark House

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We loved this story so much as a family!

This is a very moving story but does have a few spiritual bits in it. Overall it is a good story and very exciting.

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  • Stiib & Zaasi
  • 01-04-17

I'm a speaker of Ojibwe.

the actress should've been taught the language correctly. she butchered the words. very disrespectful! not good!

19 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mary
  • 15-02-04

My children loved listening to this story with me

Simple gentle. If you like Willa Cather, you'll probably like this. My children loved listening to this story. Good for a long midwest drive.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Lynn
  • 31-10-20

Beautiful

Beautiful story of a young girl coming into her own and living her truth. Written by a Native author, the representation of Ojibwe life is authentic. Ojibwe words and cultural understandings enhance the authenticity.

The narrator did a fine job, although paced a little slow for my liking. My constant comment about books with Native content narrated by nonNatives is that they need to learn the proper pronunciation of indigenous words and their meanings. It is very frustrating to hear repeated mispronunciations and intonations that do not match the word meaning. Miigwetch is “thank you” but is repeatedly intoned as if to mean “I’m sorry.”

Overall, the narration did not take away from the story itself, which is lovely.

~Lynn (Shoshone/Paiute/Chippewa (Ojibwe)/Cree

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-04-21

Beautiful story; non-native reader

This is a beautiful, joyful, sad story, skillfully told by Erdrich. The narration by someone so clearly not conversant in Anishinaabe / Ojibwe was jarring, and a little frustrating as I was hoping to hone my ear before reading this book aloud with my own children. This reader is not without general skill, but a recording by an individual with more than a glancing knowledge of both languages would have made this a truly outstanding audiobook.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Claudia
  • 18-08-04

A remarkable book

I got this book for my granddaughter, but listened to it myself first. I became engrossed with the characters and story. Louise Erdrich brings to this story the same sense of place and depth of character that she brings to her books for adult readers. Enjoyable and worthwhile.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Georgia
  • 17-10-09

Excellent

A marvelous story in the style of the Little House books. Highly recommend for true book lovers.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-09-18

Helped with literature class reading

I loved being able to listen to this story and following along as I read the book so I could fully understand the story. I loved this story and it really helped me understand the words and so on so forth.

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  • Mimi
  • 19-01-13

Rather disappointing based on her other novels

I have become quite impressed with the writing of Louise Erdrich, so when I saw this small older offering with no reviews I gave it a try. It is a young adult book, with a poor reader. The story is simple, not particularly well constructed and a bit jumpy as it does not follow emotional threads or action threads through for a "reader"s complete understanding. If you, like me, are an admirer of Ms Erdrich's novels, don't bother with this little, inexpensive offering. It bears no resemblance to her writing of the last decade, except it concentrates on Native American life.

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  • Betsy Packaed
  • 10-01-13

You NEED to read this.

What did you love best about The Birchbark House?

It's authenticity.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Birchbark House?

Who survives the epidemic of 1848.

Which scene was your favorite?

Sugaring.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, I wanted it to last and last!

Any additional comments?

Another Erdrich success!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Karen Sturges
  • 05-12-11

One of my favorite authors

Would you consider the audio edition of The Birchbark House to be better than the print version?

I do almost all of my reading audibly so I can read while gardening, driving, etc., so I really enjoy almost every book I listen to because most of the time the reader or readers are fantastic with their different voices and accents. This one was no exception.

What did you like best about this story?

I love all of Louise Erdrich's books, love her writing and storytelling - so quirky. And its always a glimpse into another culture. This one was great because I didn't realized until 3/4 of the way through how the beginning of the story would relate to the main character. A wonderful story about a special young girl discovering her identity.

1 person found this helpful